TWiP: Stripes

This Week in Pictures (TWiP) at Polka Dot Cottage

I used to have a really nifty tradition of baking pumpkin bread in mini loaves to give away as First Day of Fall gifts. I’ve let that tradition slide in recent years, and some seasons I don’t get around to making the bread at all, let alone giving some away. It’s too bad because it is probably the best recipe I have ever come up with.

I did set aside yesterday afternoon for some purely selfish pumpkin bread baking. Technically it was a day late, but it doesn’t need to be the actual first day of fall if they’re just for me and my guys. I made them into muffins, and since we each have our own taste preferences and dietary requirements, I customized them a bit and sprinkled chopped walnuts on some of them and chocolate chips on some others.

The family reviews are in, and they are favorable as usual. (Don’t tell them that I healthified these and that they are made entirely with white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose – it’s surprisingly unnoticeable!)

I’ve just had one of the walnutty variety for my breakfast, and it was just the perfect bite of autumnal goodness. Mmmmmmmm. I could eat these all day, but my waistline might have something to say about that.

Today is my Dad’s birthday and we’re visiting tonight. If I were a nice person, I’d bring some of those muffins with me to share with the rest of the family. I am a nice person, but I haven’t decided yet if I am that selfless 😜

I have a cup of pumpkin puree leftover, by the way. Any suggestions for how I should use it up? Usually I let it sit in the fridge until it grows a nice little pile of mold on top of it, and then I throw it away. I was thinking maybe this year I’d try to put it to somewhat better use…

BTW, this week? All about the stripes. And a little bit about the poisonous front yard fungi, too.

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2016), plus some snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

📷 = taken with my Canon DSLR
📱 = taken with my Samsung phone

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

365 📱: 2016 261/366 – I spent about an hour at TMC’s grand opening. Here’s my little section of the store. [Taken at TMC’s Boutique in New Providence, NJ.]

Instagram 📱: I have two observations to make: 1. The number of times I can walk past a pair of earrings I like and not buy them is three. Today it was my fourth time seeing these @made.with.clay beauties at @tmcsboutique and my resolve just melted. 2. My new earrings match my drink. I 💚 green. [Taken at Starbucks.]

Sunday

Instagram 📱: A #pdcmaybabyblanket off the hook, blocked, and ready for its new home 💙

Instagram 📱: So, I had an idea for a new shawl using the @juneprycefibers I bought at last weekend’s #njsheepandfiberfestival and I cast on last night. So far, so good. Not sure yet what I’m going to call it, but if it comes out as nice in Real Life as the idea is in my mind, I will name it and publish it 😊

365 📷: 2016 262/366 – Sunday back yard patio knitting. It’s a Good Thing.

Monday

365 📷: 2016 263/366 – These fungi on the front lawn were about half this size yesterday!

Instagram 📱: Oh, this rainy Monday! ☔ I resisted the temptation to sit around sipping coffee and knitting (strong as that temptation was) and instead took myself to Starbucks (aka my mobile office) to accomplish some of the important business tasks on my list. Now that I’ve been productive, I can treat myself with a few rows of knitting on this still unnamed shawl while I slurp up the dregs of my second blonde roast ☕

Tuesday

365 📷: 2016 264/366 – The front lawn fungi continue to mutate. Usually by this time Neil has kicked them over, but we kinda both want to see where they go from here.

Wednesday

Instagram 📱: I finished my shawl! And these colors are just perfect. I still need a name for it before I can publish the pattern. Any suggestions? [Update: I am calling it “Vertical Hold” and I blogged about it here.]

365 📷: 2016 265/366 – I finished my shawl. I loooooove these colors! I’m going to write up a pattern, but first I will probably knit another sample in different colors so you can better see the striping design.

Thursday

Instagram 📱: The job hunt continues. And it does so in a coffee shop wearing a new knit scarf and shiny shoes, because I was having trouble focusing on the task while at home in my PJs ☕ [Taken at Starbucks.]

Instagram 📱: I started another #pdcverticalhold wrap in colors that will help to demonstrate the striping pattern. I’m glad this is a quick knit, because I usually have very little patience for making the same thing twice in a row 😊

365 📷: 2016 266/366 – Only 100 more days left in 2016 – that’s hard to believe! I started this new project, and while it will eventually have five distinct colors in it, right now it looks lind of like a bumble bee…

Friday

Instagram 📱: But first, coffee☕. And maybe a few rows of knitting 😊

365 📷: 2016 267/366 – I’ve had this little sewing corner set up for a few months. I keep telling myself I will put it away when I finish the one little project I still wanted to make. And yet, I haven’t touched that one little project. I think I need to pull the plug on that idea and put this stuff away once and for all. I need the space to work on some new polymer clay stuff ☺

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr and/or Instagram.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

SAME WEEK PREVIOUS YEARS (2008, 2014, 2015)

38-2008 This Week in Pictures This Week in Pictures (TWiP) at Polka Dot Cottage

Vertical Hold

Vertical Hold Wrap at Polka Dot Cottage

I designed a shawl and named it after an obsolete TV knob…

Friends, please say hello to “Vertical Hold.”

Vertical Hold Wrap at Polka Dot Cottage

Vertical Hold Wrap at Polka Dot Cottage

Vertical Hold Wrap at Polka Dot Cottage

I love it. I’m eager for a few crisp Autumnal days so that I can wrap myself up in it’s cozy teal goodness!

The yarn is from June Pryce Fiber Arts, and it came in a 6-pack of graduated shades. This colorway is known as “Arctic Ice.” Aren’t they just the most beautiful teals?

Vertical Hold Wrap at Polka Dot Cottage

Vertical Hold Wrap at Polka Dot Cottage

The front of the wrap has well-defined stripes, while the back is a little more gentle about its striping. I like both looks, so it doesn’t really matter which way it’s worn.

I’m going to publish this pattern. It’s very simple, suitable for beginners, and theoretically it’s scalable to any size yarn with any size needles.

Before I do that, though, I plan to make another in different colors. As much as these teals take my breath away, I find that using graduated shades (especially ones where the three darkest colors are nearly indistinguishable from one another) makes it hard to see the stripe pattern clearly. For instructional purposes, it’s probably better if you can easily tell where one color ends and another begins, wouldn’t you say?

I am feeling so prolific lately! If I’m going to keep it up, I will need to go install myself in front of a good British mystery tonight and get cracking on Vertical Hold Wrap #2 right away 😍

Quiet Time again

Quiet Time 3 - a new playlist at Polka Dot Cottage
I unleashed a third Quiet Time playlist on the world (or, at least, my own little corner of the world) last night. This one has been brewing since the last one was finished. It’s what I do: as I get tired of the songs I start replacing them one by one until I have a whole new mix.

I suspect this is my last one for a while. Three really feels like plenty, and I’m running out of songs, too, that give me the very specific feeling I want these playlists to evoke. It’ll take me some time to collect enough other tunes.

So, here it is. If you want to listen to it as you’re falling asleep, like I do, you can listen through the 8tracks phone app and set the app’s sleep timer to 60 minutes. All of my Quiet Time playlists are roughly an hour, so it works nicely. The app turns itself off just as the playlist is wrapping up. (If you don’t set the sleep timer, 8tracks chooses another playlist for you to listen to when mine is over and just keeps going).

Quiet Time 3 from lclarke522 on 8tracks Radio.

Happy Listening!

TWiP: All Things Yarny

This Week in Pictures (TWiP) at Polka Dot Cottage

It’s been another yarny week, starting with the New Jersey Sheep and Fiber Festival, going through the publication of my newest sweater pattern (and a whole collection of my sweater patterns, which I haven’t mentioned on the blog yet, but you can find in the Download Shop, if you like), and ending with the completion of my second May Baby Blanket.

I am either about to completely burn out on all things knit/crocheted, or am heading into a super prolific period… Meet me back here next week to find out which, LOL!

So, what is This Week in Pictures?

It’s a roundup of the photos I shot for Project 365 (one image each day for all of 2016), plus some snapshots I posted on Instagram during the previous week.

📷 = taken with my Canon DSLR
📱 = taken with my Samsung phone

Ready? Cast your mind back to this time last week…

Saturday

Instagram 📱: Got some tunes, and a couple of totes, and I’m ready to hit the road. I’m taking myself on a little yarn-based adventure this weekend 😊

365 📷: 2016 254/366 – I want to say I’m on a business trip this weekend, but it feels a lot more like a pleasure trip. Tonight, I will spend all of my time in this corner, working on a crochet project and watching a movie. Tomorrow, I check out of the hotel and hit the New Jersey Sheep and Fiber Festival ♥ [Taken at the Hyatt House in Branchburg, NJ.]

Instagram 📱: The hardest decision I intend to make for the rest of the night is which romantic comedy to watch. [Taken at the Hyatt House in Branchburg, NJ.]

Sunday

Instagram 📱: Last night’s progress on my #pdcmaybabyblanket. It looks more like a mug rug than a blanket at the moment, but it’ll get there 😉 [Taken at the Hyatt House in Branchburg, NJ.]

Instagram 📱: What a beautiful day! #njsheepandwool #njsheepandfiberfestival [Taken at Hunterdon County Fairgrounds.]

Instagram 📱: Feeling a little disappointed that I’ve been through all of the barns and only managed to buy lunch and a toy for my brother’s cats 😞. I think I’m just a worsted weight girl in a sock yarn world… [Taken at Hunterdon County Fairgrounds.]

Instagram 📱: These graduated hanks are a bit lighter weight than I usually knit with, but those colors!! I had to go back for them. I spent about 10 minutes dithering in the @juneprycefiber booth, but eventually these pretties ended up in my bag. I’m thinking shawl, but I don’t know what pattern yet. Maybe I’ll design my own 💙💚 [Taken at Hunterdon County Fairgrounds.]

365 📷: 2016 255/366 – Back home, and rather than tackle the dishes in the sink or the laundry basket overflow, I wound my new yarn into center-pull balls. Priorities! This yarn, BTW, is from June Pryce Fiber Arts. It’s Coventry DK in the "arctic ice" colorway. It’s squishy and beautiful, and will become some kind of something to wrap around my neck in the winter. Maybe another Hitchhiker Shawl, maybe something else.

Monday

365 📷: 2016 256/366 – This is my second Porthole Pullover prototype. I was considering leaving it unfinished, since I’ve already tested the bits I needed to test, and I’m not sure I’ll ever wear it, since it’s a lot more fitted than I generally like. Still, I have found myself working on the sleeves. Maybe it’ll grow a bit with blocking and then I’ll want to wear it. We’ll see. There’s no rush.

Tuesday

365 📱: 2016 257/366 – Our last Back to School night in the middle school! [Taken at Eamonn’s School.]

Wednesday

365 📷: 2016 258/366 – Pssst! Hey, Eamonn! Look out the window!

Thursday

Instagram 📱: This little stroller blanket is coming together nicely, I think 😊 #pdcmaybabyblanket

365 📷: 2016 259/366 – Hm, I seem to have bought another pair of reading glasses. One can just never have too many 😜

Friday

365 📱: 2016 260/366 – My car is finally shiny again. Yay! [Taken at Berkeley Car Wash.]

Instagram 📱: Finished! Well, almost. I still have to give it a good soak and smooth it out nicely. Tomorrow 😊

Instagram 📱: Is it silly to say that I’ve always wished somebody would ask me #widn? 😉 Thanks, @tdwoolandcotton for being my first, LOL! So what am I doing? Sitting on my bed, sipping decaf, finishing up a #crochet project and binging on some Acorn TV. Just a typical Friday night 💟

Thanks for taking a peek at this week’s photos! If you want to see this stuff as it happens, please feel free to follow me on Flickr and/or Instagram.

I may already have plans to blog about some of these things in greater detail over the coming week, but be sure to leave a comment if there’s something in particular you want to know about!

SAME WEEK PREVIOUS YEARS (2008, 2014, 2015)

37-2008 This Week in Pictures This Week in Pictures (TWiP) at Polka Dot Cottage

Knit a Porthole Pullover! (Coupon inside)

Porthole Pullover knitting pattern at Polka Dot Cottage

I love top down round yoke sweaters. I am particularly drawn to yokes with a variety of interesting colors in them, but because I have yet to get over my fear of stranded colorwork, I have mostly resisted the lure.

Luckily, I found a way to get a colorful design without messing around with a half dozen balls of yarn. The secret formula involves slipped stitches and self-striping yarn.

My sample features a rainbow colored yoke in a geometric pattern that resembles the windows on a cruise ship (hence the name “Porthole Pullover“). The rainbow stripes are achieved through the use of a self-striping single skein of yarn. If you can knit a simple two color striping pattern (a few rounds in the self-striping color, a few rounds in the main color, and on and on) then you can knit this.

Porthole Pullover knitting pattern at Polka Dot Cottage

The stripes become a geometric pattern through the use of strategically placed slip-stitches. If you’ve never knit a slip-stitch pattern before, you’ll be happy to know that it couldn’t be easier. To slip a stitch, simply move it from the left needle to the right needle without knitting it.

Seriously. That’s it. Knit some stripes, slipping some of the stitches along the way, and you have this yoke pattern.

Porthole Pullover knitting pattern at Polka Dot Cottage

And of course, the pattern will tell you how many stripes to knit and where to slip the stitches.

If you are feeling adventurous, there are several options for customizing the fit of this sweater. By default it’s a cozy, relaxed fit. But I’ve included a few things you can do to change it up:

  • short row neck shaping (bring up the back of the neck a bit, like you would see on a purchased garment)
  • short row bust shaping (give yourself a little extra room if you’re a C cup or above)
  • waist darts (give the sweater a more fitted silhouette)
  • fitted sleeves (reduce the amount of ease in the sleeves, so that they hug the arms)

Porthole Pullover knitting pattern at Polka Dot Cottage

My rainbow sample shows the sweater with the bust shaping, but none of the other optional enhancements. I left it nice and roomy.

Porthole Pullover - Just the Pattern!
Porthole Pullover - Just the Pattern!

No tutorial, just the 8-page pattern PDF.

Price: $3.99

I designed the pullover to go with the baby cardigan version I published a few months ago. You can be matchy-matchy with your favorite baby, toddler, or preschooler (or your American Girl doll – I won’t judge).

Porthole Cardigan - Just the Pattern!
Porthole Cardigan - Just the Pattern!

No tutorial, just the 8-page pattern PDF.

Price: $3.99

So. Are you ready to knit your own September Sweater? To celebrate the publication of this new Porthole Pullover, all sweater patterns in the Download Shop are 25% OFF until the end of the month! Use coupon code SEPTSWEAT at checkout.

Happy knitting!

BTW, if you do knit one, I hope you’ll share pictures on Instagram or other social media! I love to see your interpretations of my designs. Use the hashtag #polkadotcottage when you talk about any of my patterns, and use #pdcportholepullover when you talk about this one specifically. And feel free to tag me @lclarke522, too!